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Nets open second half against Lakers

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"Got it wrapped like a mummy still ain't tripping love to see young blacks get money"
"Got it wrapped like a mummy still ain't tripping love to see young blacks get money"
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

We now return to our regular programming.

When we last saw the Brooklyn Nets, they were on the receiving end of another loss, this time in Memphis to the Grizzlies. This is the fourth game of the eight game road trip and first of the second half. The Nets are one game behind Miami for the eighth seed and a half game ahead of Boston for the ninth seed in the conference. More on them in a moment.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Los Angeles Lakers. It's been another disappointing season for the Lakers as they find themselves out of the playoff picture once again. They've lost six straight games, including last Wednesday's against Portland.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on the television and WFAN 101.9 FM on the radio. We're on West Coast time so tip off is set for a bit after 10:30 EST.

Injuries

Jarrett Jack left the Memphis game with a leg injury and is questionable.

Bad news all around for the Lakers. Steve Nash got hurt in the preseason and hasn't played this year. Julius Randle fractured his right tibia on Opening Night and will miss the rest of the year. A right shoulder injury was the final straw for Kobe Bryant and he will also miss the rest of the year. Jordan Hill has missed the last two weeks with a strained hip flexor and his status is unknown at this time. Oh, and Wayne Ellington has gastroeneritis. That sounds unpleasant.

The game

How'd the first half go for these clubs? Let's get into it:

2014-2015 Season

Brooklyn Los Angeles

Record

21-31 13-40

Pace

94.18 96.61

Offensive Efficiency

100 101.2

Defensive Efficiency

104.6 108.4

Turnover Rate

15.1 13.3

Assist Rate

16.3 15.8

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.2 25.8

Rebounding Rate

48.7 49.4

Free Throw Rate

27 28

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.7 47.1

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

50.2 52.1

We've officially passed the trading deadline and the Nets are looking a little different. They traded Kevin Garnett to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for lefty power forward Thaddeus Young. The Nets hope to have him in uniform in L.A., but it's still uncertain. As for the Lakers, they were quiet at the deadline but their pick in this year's draft (Top Five protected) was sent to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Speaking of trades, the bottom of the East has gotten more competitive. The Heat acquired Goran Dragic from the Suns and the Celtics picked up Isaiah Thomas. Not to mention Reggie Jackson is now a Piston, not a Net.

Without Garnett and maybe Young, Brook Lopez and Mason Plumlee will start alongside one another. The duo hasn't worked as well as Lionel Hollins hoped, and with Young on board, this pairing won't be seen that often. Carlos Boozer has played decently but there is a legitimate case to be made for cutting him. He's still here (for now) and serves as LA's best scoring option. He's always taken a lot of jumpers, but this year he's  taken 26.7 percent of his shots from 16 feet and further.

These aren't your older relative's Lakers. Without Kobe, there isn't much star power or anything in terms of entertaining basketball. Jeremy Lin is the most recognizable player in the LA back court, but he hasn't played well even in Bryant's absence. He was the starter at the beginning of the season but is now coming off the bench. Deron Williams finds himself in a similar situation. Jack has been playing well but with his injury, Williams ought to see some more playing time.

Player to watch: Nick Young Swaggy P

How can you not love Swaggy P? From the outside looking in, On the court however is a bit of a different story. Young is having the worst season of his career, shooting only 36.5 percent from the field. He's been in a slump for about a month, making only 31 percent of his shots since January 21 against New Orleans. Young is also dealing with an injury, but he should be good to go.

Joe Johnson should be feeling good following the extended break. He's been dealing with ankle and knee injuries since December and it let to him having his worst month as a member of the Nets (January). He's been better of late, but did have a rough go of it against Memphis. Against Swaggy, he should be able to post him up at will. It's a night of transition for the Nets, and with the team desperately trying to make the playoffs, Johnson is going to need to go on a great run.

From the Vault

Here's something fun. On Sunday, the Hawks had four of their players appear in the All Star Game. That feat has been accomplished a couple of times in NBA history, one of those being the Lakers in 1998 with Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe, Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel playing in the Game. Instead of heading back to '98, we're taking a trip to 2004 and watching Shaq and Kobe with two of the other starters for the West, Karl Malone and Gary Payton, as they team up and try to beat the Detroit Pistons. And with the Mailman wanting to put hands on Kobe (again), this is particularly timely.

More reading: Silver Screen and Roll